How the CIO role will evolve in healthcare

Five health IT and innovation leaders examine how their roles are changing and where they think technology leaders will focus in the future.

Peter Marks, PhD. Vice President and CIO of WakeMed (Raleigh, N.C.): The promise of technology in healthcare comes in the opportunity to use data information to help make and keep people healthy.

All healthcare leaders should be shifting their focus to turn data into action that can help people. This is not easy as there is still much to do in terms of delivering healthcare every day. With this, leaders need to pivot and take the deluge of information we have to keep patients safe and healthy. Our path towards this goal needs a clear vision and takes a strong partnership between IS and operations. Together, we need to have a long view where we evaluate all analytics point solutions and determine if they can work together to have complete picture of all patients.

Tom Andriola. Vice President and CIO of University of California System (Oakland, Calif.): I wouldn't say change as much as I would describe it as continuing to evolve. Healthcare technology executives have worked hard to position themselves as enablers to their counterparts in their organization, both business and clinical. It's hard work. I liken it to salmon swimming upstream. So I see the role evolving to be deeper into the strategy for how we continue to enable the right care at the right place, right time and at the right cost while continuing to expand across a more diverse healthcare landscape, including how we integrate with accountable care organizations and clinically integrated networks.

Evan Jackson. CIO and Vice President of Planning and Business Development at Middlesex Health (Middletown, Conn.): My role is as both the CIO and the vice president of strategy and business development so I am responsible for both executing IT strategy and trying to advise, promote and align general and technology initiatives to support our strategic positioning. I think the importance of these linkages will only grow.

Brian Sterud. Vice President and CIO of Faith Regional Health Services (Norfolk, Neb.): The role of CIO has changed already and will continue to be a business enabler. Knowledge of technology and the corresponding capabilities will remain important; however, these skills are now shared by many of our colleagues. I believe that a CIO needs to understand the business well enough to present solutions to problems that have been identified. In the past, I feel we may have had a solution in mind and went looking for the problem.

Kolaleh Eskandanian, PhD. Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer of Children's National Health System (Washington, D.C.): The most important aspect of my role is to react to market signals sharply and think several steps ahead. In the innovation domain, those who get twisted in the traditional methodology of benchmarking, for example, will clearly stay behind. I am fortunate to work in a culture that embraces disruption, while balancing risks and benefits, carefully. So, I think my role is dynamic and I need to always have an eagle eye vision on how the world is changing in general, and how healthcare, and specifically pediatric healthcare, can leverage the technology advancements in all fields to its advantage.

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